YORK COUNTY, SC (YCSO NEWS) – Three separate scams dupe citizens of more than $10, 600 in the month of December. The York County Sheriff’s Office strongly encourages citizens to not be deceived by tricky phone scams.
The first case the victim received a call from a person advising her that her social security card number had been stolen and needed to pay to have a new number issued to her. The caller, who sounded like he had a foreign accent, told the victim there was a car found in Mexico with blood in it and there were credit cards found with their name. Further, the scammer told the person that if she did not pay him he would have arrest warrants issued through the US Marshals for the incident. The scammer stayed on the phone with the victim, as they went to a local Target store to purchase gift cards totaling the amount of $3,575 to pay off the fake warrants.
The second reported incident is a familiar scam in which the suspect claims to be a Deputy with the York County Sheriff’s Office. The scammer tells the victim they failed to appear for jury duty and now there’s a warrant for their arrest for contempt of court. The scammer stated his name was Deputy Brian Ward. There is no one named Brian Ward working at the York County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was told to get two GreenDot Money Pak Cards with $495 each and bring them to the Moss Justice Center to “Pay off the warrant”. While in route to York, the scammer, still on the phone with the victim, asked for the numbers on card. Once the scammer took the card information he disconnected with victim. In total the victim was conned out of $1,100. 90.
The third case, the victim believed a representative from Amazon named David was working on his computer remotely. From December 2nd to the 16th, 2019 the victim was scammed of approximately $6,000 for computer repairs. Once the scammer received the money he ceased contact with the victim and the computer was never repaired.
Phone Scam con artists are very devious and portray to know what they are talking about. Scammers will use high pressure tactics to push you into reacting through fear of punishment. If you ever receive a call in which the person claims to have a warrant for your arrest the best practice is to simply hang up and call your local law enforcement agency. If the scammer calls back continue to hang up and then block the number through your mobile phone or telephone service provider.
Caller ID should not be trusted. Scammers use computers to make any name or number show up on your caller ID. This is called spoofing. Even if the number looks to be from a government agency like the York County Sheriff’s Office, or from a local number, it could be a scammer calling from anywhere in the world.
Never allow a person to have remote access to your computer. If you gave a potential scammer your password, change it immediately to something more complex than the previous one. Take precautions to update your computer’s security software, then run a scan to delete anything the software identifies as a problem. If the scammer installs ransomware remotely onto your computer, do not pay to have the software removed. Ransomware is malicious software scammers place onto your computer to withhold you from gaining access to your data. For example the ransomware will block you from personal information, documents, or photographs. If you believe your computer has been a target for ransomware, you should take your device to an IT professional to isolate and remove the ransomware.
A red flag which could help a person identify a phone scam is when the scammer asks for a prepaid money card or gift card of any type to resolve an issue. Typically once you give the scammer the number information off the card the money on card is almost instantly transferred off. If unfortunately you paid a scammer with a prepaid card, you can attempt to call the company that issued the card right away to see if you can recover your money. The sooner you call the company the better chances you will have to recover the funds.
If you have fallen prey to a phone or computer scam, report it immediately to your local law enforcement agency. For more information on how to avoid scams, visit www.yorkcountysheriff.com and search Crime Prevention.